Regulation of Innate Lymphoid Cells in Acute Kidney Injury: Crosstalk between Cannabidiol and GILZ

Babak Baban, Hesam Khodadadi, Kumar Vaibhav, Cristina Marchetti, Carlo Riccardi, Mahmood S. Mozaffari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) have emerged as largely tissue-resident archetypal cells of the immune system. We tested the hypotheses that renal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a contributing factor to polarization of ILCs and that glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) and cannabidiol regulate them in this condition. Mice subjected to unilateral renal IRI were treated with the following agents before restoration of renal blood flow: cannabidiol, DMSO, transactivator of transcription-(TAT-) GILZ, or the TAT peptide. Thereafter, kidney cells were prepared for flow cytometry analyses. Sham kidneys treated with either cannabidiol or TAT-GILZ displayed similar frequencies of each subset of ILCs compared to DMSO or TAT, respectively. Renal IRI increased ILC1s and ILC3s but reduced ILC2s compared to the sham group. Cannabidiol or TAT-GILZ treatment of IRI kidneys reversed this pattern as evidenced by reduced ILC1s and ILC3s but increased ILC2s compared to their DMSO-or TAT-treated counterparts. While TAT-GILZ treatment did not significantly affect cells positive for cannabinoid receptors subtype 2 (CB2+), cannabidiol treatment increased frequency of both CB2+ and GILZ-positive (GILZ+) cells of IRI kidneys. Subsequent studies showed that IRI reduced GILZ+ subsets of ILCs, an effect less marked for ILC2s. Treatment with cannabidiol increased frequencies of each subset of GILZ+ ILCs, but the effect was more marked for ILC2s. Indeed, cannabidiol treatment increased CB2+ GILZ+ ILC2s. Collectively, the results indicate that both cannabidiol and GILZ regulate ILC frequency and phenotype, in acute kidney injury, and that the effects of cannabidiol likely relate to modulation of endogenous GILZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6056373
Pages (from-to)6056373
JournalJournal of Immunology Research
StatePublished - 2020


  • Acute Kidney Injury/immunology
  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol/metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines/metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Kidney/physiology
  • Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Receptor Cross-Talk
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2/metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury/immunology
  • Th2 Cells/immunology
  • Transcription Factors/metabolism


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